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Key Points


  • Cadmium dust/powder is flammable; solid is not flammable
  • Reacts with oxidising agents and acids
  • Slowly oxidised in air to form cadmium oxide
  • In the event of a fire involving cadmium, use fine water spray and liquid-tight protective clothing with breathing apparatus


  • Toxic by inhalation and ingestion
  • Harmful
  • Short-term inhalation may cause irritation of the airways, shortness of breath or headache. Symptoms may be delayed for 4-8 hours
  • Following short-term oral exposure no symptoms maybe seen for up to 1 hour. After this time, stomach upsets, swelling of the face, neck and throat, difficulty in breathing and in rare cases, death may occur
  • Long-term ingestion leads to kidney failure
  • Long-term inhalation causes kidney failure and decreases lung function
  • Cadmium can cause cancer in humans


  • Dangerous for the environment
  • Inform Environment Agency of substantial incidents


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Compendium of Chemical Hazards